Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Here is what you should know before a Virginia divorce proceeding

You are prepared to move forward with the divorce process. After all, you are ready to move on with your own life. However, where exactly do you start?

Virginia laws govern the circumstances under which married couples in the state can get divorced. Here is a look at what requirements you must meet before you can proceed with the dissolution of a marriage in Old Dominion.

The state's basic divorce requirements

Before you and your spouse can divorce, at least one of you must have been a resident of Virginia for six months. In addition, before you can claim a no-fault grounds for divorce, you and your spouse must have been separated for one year with no cohabitation. However, you can reduce this period to half a year if both parties reach a settlement agreement concerning the specific aspects of the marital dissolution and do not share any children under the age of 18.

You legally do not have to allege fault with a no-fault divorce. However, fault may still come into play when it comes to separating your marital property as well as handling the issue of alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance.

Your rights during a divorce proceeding

The divorce process can be financially and emotionally challenging. However, the most ideal way of approaching divorce in Virginia is for both you and the other party to come to an agreement regarding the main issues in your divorce, including asset distribution and child custody, if you have minor children. In this situation, you can use an alternative dispute resolution process, such as mediation, to produce a settlement agreement that satisfies you both. In this way, you can avoid further court intrusion and complete the divorce process quickly and efficiently.

If you and your future ex-spouse cannot find common ground when it comes to your major divorce issues, you have no choice but to go to trial. At trial, a Virginia judge will ultimately determine how to handle these matters, taking into consideration both your and your future ex's needs and wishes. Unfortunately, the judge's final decisions may not necessarily be in alignment with what you would have wanted and expected. Nonetheless, you have the right to pursue the best outcome for yourself given the facts of your divorce case.

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